Nice Words

I had a wonderful student teaching experience back in the day. I had an awesome CT, and my university supervisor turned out to be better than expected. I got some great constructive feedback. For the most part, I knew when a lesson didn’t go well. What I didn’t know (and still don’t always know) is where exactly the lesson went wrong or what I could change. When we sat down to discuss it, my CT didn’t spend a lot of time telling me what I did wrong. In fact, she rarely ever did. Luckily, I didn’t have too many really off lessons, and when I did, she saw that I knew it. She let me lead and then would help me think of a few realistic ways I could fix what I needed to be fixed. She was also really awesome at telling me what I was excelling at. I left my student teaching experience feeling confident and  (realistically 😉 ) ready to take over my own class.

I have yet to feel that same confidence. If I do hear anything back from any observations, it’s something that I did wrong. And this will sound really defensive, but usually, it’ll be that I should have done X or Y. And… I have usually done X or Y, it just happened about five minutes after the observer left. So, it’s not really feedback I can use…

Well, today a colleague stopped by my room. I have a lot of kids she taught a few years ago so she wanted to stay a minute and just watch them. I started a mini-lesson with them, and I have to say these kids usually leave me feeling frazzled. They are very high energy and all over the place, so they typically take a lot of energy from me!

After school, she stopped by to tell me how impressed she was with what she saw. She enjoyed the depth of the discussion, and how I didn’t stop the kids when I didn’t get the “correct” answer. I let them explain their thinking, and she kind of changed her mind to agree with them.

This moment has really helped give me even more motivation to listen to what I’m saying to others more. I’m trying to point out the really awesome things I see and hear my kids doing, and I need to make sure to continue to do that AND do the same for the adults I work with.

It is crazy what a few nice words can do for your day!

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5 responses

  1. That’s so true. You usually don’t need to know what didn’t work…that’s kind of obvious to you. The positives work to help you focus on that and let go of the rest. It works with the kids the same way. Reward/praise instances of what you want to see happening and it happens more! Besides the fact that good feelings are boosted…and that means better learning/teaching, too!

  2. In this time of tricky evaluations, true coaching feedback is a joy to receive. I encourage my teachers to invite each other in. We still have much to learn from each other, teacher-to-teacher.

  3. This year we have begun to observe other teachers. This has been a valuable experience for the observer and observed. Learning from each other is the true definition of collaboration. Glad you received those positive words from your colleague. May they continue to motivate you in the months ahead.

  4. What a boost to hear those words from your colleague! Your words remind me that my students need to hear from me about the awesome things they are doing. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. So much we can give each other if we just give the time! I know those high energy folks and they do sap you. Sounds like you are getting them to do the work though, shifting the thinking to them. Awesome stuff.

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